India's Freedom Reassessed
The Legacy of the Desais & Patels of Gujarat

By Chittaranjan D. Desai
June 2007
Distributed By Trans-Atlantic Publications
Book Guild
ISBN: 9781846240126
For Ages 14- 16
498 pages, Illustrated, 6 1/4 x 9 1/2"
$42.50 Hardcover

The history of India in the twentieth century would have been very different without the part played in it by the Desai dynasty.  From their heartland of Nadiad in the Kaira district of Gujarat they provided a succession of leaders for the non-violent resistance movement to British rule, including the author’s own father, Dadubhai, and the brothers Vallabhbhai and Vithalbhai Patel. 

The centerpiece of the book is a stirring description of the great set-pieces of passive resistance – the Bardoli Satyagraha of 1930, which were to put the Indian National Congress and Mahatma Gandhi on the map as the true representatives of the Indian people.  These and other significant events, and the remarkable contributions made to them by the Desai family, have up to now been comparatively suppressed by historians – historians who made us believe that the interaction between the political elite rather than the popular mass agitations brought independence. 

The author also provides telling portraits of the main characters involved, both British and Indian, including Pandit Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi (whom the author knew personally), and the book contains correspondence of Gandhi and other leaders never before published in English.  This is a true insider’s view of the long journey to India’s independence and tells the incredible story with authority and originality.

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